For the power of the life-giving Spirit–and this power is mine through Christ Jesus–has freed me from the vicious circle of sin and of death.
–Romans 8:2 (TLB)
How do you make obedience to God a habit in your life? You have to decide that obedience is both possible and profitable. A lot of Christians unfortunately think that disobeying God is like the law of gravity–inevitable, and out of our control. But sin is not inevitable; we simply allow it to become a habit in our lives. Dallas Willard wrote, “Falling when you step off a platform is not a habit. Cultivated lusting, anger, and so on are. And, generally speaking, those who say they ‘cannot help it’ are either not well informed about life or have not decided to do without ‘it.’ Most likely the latter. But the really good news here is that the power of habit can be broken. Habits can be changed. And God will help us to change them–though he will not do it for us–because he has a vital interest in who we become.” You have the power to say no to sin. Look at Paul’s words in Romans 8:2. I like the way the Living Bible paraphrases this: “For the power of the life-giving Spirit–and this power is mine through Christ Jesus–has freed me from the vicious circle of sin and of death.” You do not have to sin. Obedience to God is possible.
Not only do you have to decide that obedience is possible, but you have to be convinced that it is profitable for you. Have you realized that the consequences of sin far overshadow the temporary pleasure of sin? Do you really believe that God’s plan for your life is better than Satan’s plan for your life? Do you truly want to protect yourself from doubts about salvation? From forfeiting your eternal rewards? From allowing Satan to have further reign in your life? God has already supplied you with the power and the desire to obey Him, but you must supply the decision.
To illustrate the power of allowing even one small area of disobedience in our hearts, a pastor told this parable: A man was selling his home for $2,000, but the buyer did not have that much money. They haggled until the seller agreed to a lower price–with one stipulation. He said, “I want to retain ownership of a single nail on the front door.” The buyer thought it was a great deal and moved into his new home. A few years later, the original owner decided that he wanted his home back, but the new owner did not want to sell. So the man found the carcass of a dog and hung it on the nail on the front door. Within a few days, the stench became so horrible that the house was uninhabitable, and the owner sold the house back for a pittance. The pastor closed with this application: “If we leave the devil with even one small peg in our life, he will return to hang his rotten garbage on it, making it unfit for Christ’s habitation.” Putting on the breastplate of righteousness is the best way to protect yourself from Satan’s entrance into your life.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Power Of A Habit” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.
Dallas Willard, “The Divine Conspiracy” (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1998), 345; parable attributed to Dale A. Hays in Virgil Mills, “Eight Steps To Happiness: Part 2,” Preacher’s Magazine, December/January/February 1998-99, 76.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org; Scripture quotation marked (TLB) is taken from The Living Bible copyright © 1971. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.